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Party polls will be conducted: Thennala

By Our Staff Reporter

GURUVAYUR, FEB. 17. The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president, Thennala Balakrishna Pillai, has said that organisational elections in the State unit of the party will be conducted at any cost.

Mr. Pillai, who was here today to inaugurate a State-level conference of the Private School Teachers' Association, told presspersons that the KPCC had not even thought about deferring the polls. The committee had completed a membership campaign without giving room for complaints and this was being scrutinised before the polls. A list of 35 people recommended for appointment as district-level returning officers had been given to the election committee chairman of the party, Krishnaswamy. The election committee would select one of them for each of the 14 districts. The KPCC would not object if it wanted to appoint returning officers from outside the State.

He said the membership campaign in Kerala was delayed, compared with those of party units in other States, by organisational issues. But now, the Kerala unit was ahead of others in the election process. Mr. Krishnaswamy would decide the final schedule of the elections, he added.

According to the earlier schedule, elections at the State level were to be completed by March and those to the All-India Congress Committee by April.

Asked about the reason for the former Chief Minister K. Karunakaran and his `I' group in the party to allege `uncertainties' in holding the organisational elections, Mr. Pillai said, "That you have to ask Mr. Karunakaran.''

Moves to avert strike

Earlier, in his address at the conference, Mr. Pillai said the KPCC would strive to avert the proposed strike of State Government employees on February 22. The Government would be persuaded to accept their genuine demands. The employees would be urged to appreciate the constraints faced by the Government. The KPCC had held discussions with office-bearers of the State Employees and Teachers Organisation and would hold another round of talks with pro-Congress employees' organisations in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

During the previous strike by the employees, there was a complaint that they were not given an opportunity to present their views. This time, such a complaint would not arise, he added.

Education sector

The KPCC general secretary Mullappalli Ramachandran, in his address at the meeting, said the unwillingness of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Congress to run the Education Department was a major reason for degeneration of the education sector in the State. The department was being dumped to junior partners in coalitions led by the respective parties which had been coming to power in the State, he added.

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